The History of the Japanese Tanto
The short sword is known as the Japanese Tanto. The blade is made of a hard, dense, curved Japanese katana which is a popular choice among collectors. Due to the unique beauty and functional function of this Japanese sword, the genre has attracted a lot of interest from the American martial arts marketplace over the last couple of years. It’s an interesting attraction to these legendary swords of the samurai.
The beautiful curvature and strength of Japanese swords
have fueled much of their imitation throughout history. The short katana first became popular in the 7th Century. From that time it took two versions, one with a wooden handle and another with a metal one, to become one of Japan’s most recognized weapons. While the wooden-handled version became known as the katana, the metal one came to be called the naginata. A naginata was primarily used for special non-lethal training and as a concealed weapon.
These two swords evolved from a single weapon
and were then combined. One of the more prevalent theories regarding their development is that the combination of a long sword with a flat edge as a result of an accident during the forging of a samurai’s sword. As the flat edge of samurai swords would make it easy to cut through softer metals, the Japanese craftsmen began to experiment with adding sharp edges to their blades. After creating enough of an edge by grinding away on the sword’s edge, they combined the two edges. This produced the beginning of many of the Japanese swords that are known today.
The sword was a close combat tool
and was commonly carried within the samurai’s clothing. As such, they were often made of durable leather, and other strong cloth materials to protect the hands while still providing a firm grip on the handle. Because of their heavyweight, samurai needed to use techniques such as gripping the weapon with their strong grips and raising and lowering the blade with powerful actions. This was a lengthy and difficult process, resulting in the addition of a thick spine to the blade. The sword girth was reinforced with iron rings to further increase the durability of the weapon.
After the Japanese craftsmen
had created the tanto, it was still essential that they practiced the art of fighting with their new weapons. Samurai were often trained in basic combat tactics and strategy from a very young age, usually as soon as a child. This training included basic attacks and defensive techniques and taught them how to use their weapon in a variety of conditions. They practiced using their new weapon not only for personal safety but also to increase their strength, skill, and ability to fight in any situation.
When Japanese soldiers encountered each other on the battlefield
it was common for them to practice their techniques, and a legend began to grow about the unique nature of this small sword. From Japan’s beginning until now, the tanto has played an important role throughout history and will continue to be an important weapon as long as history exists. Even today, the techniques that warriors learned from ancient warrior traditions are being passed down through the generations, proving the timeless quality of this iconic Japanese weapon.